‘Post-election surge’ boosts sales and mortgage approvals
Property sales and mortgage approvals ended the year on the rise off the back of a “post-election surge”, data reveals.
The December Housing Report from NAEA Propertymark shows members reported an average of six sales per branch, up from five a year before.
The proportion of sales to first-time buyers increased by five percentage points annually to 29%.
Supply hit the highest level since August 2019 at 41 properties on average per branch, down marginally on the 41 reported in December 2018.
Demand fell in December to 313 house hunters per branch, the lowest figure since June 2019 but up on 304 a year before, members said.
Mark Hayward, chief executive of NAEA Propertymark, said: “After a period of suppressed market activity due to Brexit and political uncertainty, the clear outcome of the general election in December has injected some much-needed confidence into the market.
“Despite it typically being a quieter time of year seasonally, our figures have shown positive trends with both demand and the number of sales being high in comparison to previous years, as both buyers and sellers no longer hold off on their plans.
“This is an encouraging close to the year and we hope to see more of this stability in 2020.”
Meanwhile, mortgage data from trade body UK Finance suggests agents could be in for a busy few months.
Lenders reported that the number of mortgage approvals for home purchase were up 8% annually last year to 507,789 during 2019.
There were 32,451 home purchase approvals in December 2019, up 24% annually.
Mike Scott, chief property analyst at Yopa, said: “This should feed through into a very active first quarter of 2020 for home sales and completions.
“These figures provide further evidence for a post-election surge in housing market confidence and activity.”
Sam Harhat, head of financial services at Andrews Property Group, said: “That the number of mortgage approvals for home purchase by high street banks in 2019 was up on the previous year underlines how resilient demand was in what was an extraordinary 12 months of politics.
“Now that the scores on the doors are in for December and 2019 as a whole, it’s clear that many people refused to let politics put their lives on hold.
“Yes, transaction levels and overall lending volumes in 2019 were still low by historical standards, but in the circumstances they held up exceptionally well.
“We’re expecting mortgage approvals to gain momentum during the first half of 2020, as a lot of the pent-up demand out there hits the market.
“The return of aspirational buyers, who are feeling more confident in the new climate of political certainty, could really help lift transaction levels in 2020.
“There weren’t fireworks in 2019, but neither was the market flat, and that’s a victory in itself.”